It’s Not All Good

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So. I have to talk about The Cancer today. Through most of this time I think I’ve been pretty good at keeping my Game Face on. I am not by nature a perky, positive person. I consider myself more of a realist and prefer to face *all* things, good and bad, and not pretend bad things don’t exist. But I *have* really tried to find the good in the situation…to find some beauty along the way…small joys, blah blah blah.

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But yesterday I hit a brick wall. With all the rashes and diarrhea and queasiness and infections and sores and exhaustion and other joys that I have mostly kept to myself…the thing that I’m having the hardest time with is…losing my hair. I knew it was going to happen. I knew the particular chemo drugs I’m getting have that as a side effect. But I still hoped I would somehow escape it.

Nope.

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You know how a little hair always comes out in the shower? That’s normal. But yesterday…it just wouldn’t stop coming out. Big clumps and handfuls. And tears. Then when I tried brushing it out…it wouldn’t stop coming out. My brush was full of hair, my hands were full of hair…if I touched hair, it was coming out. I finally just wrangled it all into a messy bun and called it a day.

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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable yet because pulling hair back into a bun is sort of like a glorified combover (ha ha) but I’m sure in bright light it’s visible. And is only going to get worse.

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I’m afraid to take a shower this morning because so much more is going to come out. I’ll just wash my bangs in the sink. And hope for the best.

So I’m seriously stressing out about what I’m going to put on my head. I KNOW there are 12,000,000 options…but I don’t really see anything that looks like ME to me. I don’t feel sick, I don’t want to LOOK sick. I don’t want to look like someone ELSE. I’m not a hat person EVER – not in the winter to keep warm and not in the summer to shade my face…so this concept of having to put something on my head in the morning and leave it on All Day Long – at work, shopping, etc, just feels so awkward and foreign to me and I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T WANNA. WHAAAA.

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There. This is my time I’m allowed to be mad and sad and bitchy and complainy. I’M ALLOWED. I don’t want anyone trying to cheer me up, cuz you CAN’T. No one’s words can change the way I’m feeling. I’m terrified and angry. And I’m just gonna roll around in that for awhile.

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So, now that I’ve alienated half of you (ha ha), I can proceed with my outfit. I LOVE this dress. It’s by Rachel Roy via Gwynnie Bee. It’s dark dark grey and feels like velvety slinky silk. And it has this cool drapey effect on the front that hides EVERYTHING. It’s light and flowy. It’s EASY. Which is exactly what I needed yesterday.

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And we found the perfect location to shoot – this abandoned movie theater. Crumbly and littered…and yet even it had a little spot of wild flowers still growing. Even when I only WANT to focus on the ugly, I find some beauty. Damn it! Ha.

Weeks in Review: 68-74

Week by week it doesn’t feel like I do much…in fact, I’m doing a whole lot of Not Much. But when I looked back at the past 6 weeks since I last posted a Week in Review…yeah, there’s some stuff. So I’ll share.

I finished radiation. 28 treatments. That really felt like an accomplishment. I hope to never be back for more.

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I got my appetite back.

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I was so sure this baseball tee dress was going to be a win. But it wasn’t. I thought it would be cottony but it was more polyestery. And too long.

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This floral silk Lucky Brand top from Gwynnie Bee was a win.

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Nope.

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Got my blood clot filter taken out.

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I left on a jet plane. I did come back again.

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Florida! I stayed overnight with my daughter in her cute Tampa apartment.

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Cool bathroom where we had brunch.

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Katie found Tommy.

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I found the ocean. I floated and bobbed for hours. A manatee swam right past us!

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There was a beautiful sunset every night.

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My fambly ❤

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My grand-niece Annabelle is the sweetest.

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My boy was happy I finally came home.

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I got a present!

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And started real chemo.

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Meet Bruce: IV site gone wrong. One of several unpleasant issues. 9 days out from Treatment #1 I’m back to feeling almost normal. Just tired.

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Caleb got some new meds and feels good.

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Janey had a bath.

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And today I will be…PACKING…because my exciting news is I’M MOVING!!! More details and pictures to come….

Free’n’Easy

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I. Love. This. Kimono. To me it represents freedom, peace, joy, beauty…EASE. Things that have been sort of missing from my life lately. I’ve been so exhausted from treatments that my only time outdoors is pretty much walking from the car to wherever I’m going…and back again later on. I’ve missed beautiful spring evenings and beach sunsets.

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But this day I managed to spin a couple times…and walk in the grass barefoot…and feel a little easy and free.

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Fashion can do that for you. It can transport you, make you feel like a different person or like you’re living a different kind of life. And right now I need some of that.

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Do you have something special you wear when you want to feel better?

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And the good news is, I finished radiation last week…and I’m starting to feel a little more human again. Not SO exhausted all the time. Staying up past 7pm, ha.

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So here’s to feeling free’n’easy…whether in spirit or style.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Johnny Was embroidered kimono via Gwynnie Bee, 3x
  • Charlotte Russe skinny jeans, size 24
  • J Jill linen blend tee, size 24

Week in Review: Week 61

Was a pretty full and busy week – had several doctory appointments, went to dinner with friends two nights, had a little photo shoot, work is getting busier…

But we started the week with Easter at the Ex’es. I went to meet the new horse, Harley (spotted horse on the right)…and Amaretto (“Retto”) on the left.

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And said hello to Beau (horse) and Rosie and the goat whose name is NOT Cinnamon but that’s the only name I can ever THINK of for her. Wait, Ginger? Is it Ginger? It might be Ginger. Anyway, this is Rosie in the pic.

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Caleb got a little goody bag to take home after dinner 🙂  Did you notice he has the same color and markings as Rosie??

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Monday’s outfit of the day. Or is that what I wore to Easter dinner? I forget. Wow.

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Had a meeting with a social worker at Sloan-Kettering to see what kind of helpful services and programs they have. But I jumped the gun a bit as you can’t really apply to anything til you’re actually in treatment and have accrued $300 in co-pays. Which I have, just not with THEM. But I got applications to fill out so I’m all ready when the time comes. Everytime I go there’s something new blooming at the entrance.

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Wednesday’s outfit of the day. A second season dress from Alice & You and a sleeveless knit duster from CityChic. Both items via Gwynnie Bee. Maybe it’s time to say bye-bye to Hello Kitty. Goodbye Kitty?

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Had a follow-up visit to the blood doctor. They found a blood clot when I was in the hospital…it partially divided and became several blood clots in my lungs as well. So I’ve been on blood thinners and had a clot filter inserted prior to surgery. Which they now want to remove. THROUGH MY NECK. Gah. That just sounds horrible. I feel the medical profession as a whole could endeavor to make things a LITTLE more fun. I don’t know how, but they’re the ones making the big bucks, let THEM figure it out.

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My cousin sent me this picture of my mother as a baby. I think it’s hysterical! She was born in 1922.

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A package arrived from Old Navy. I’d been so excited for these items but….MEH. I’ve seen the blue floral off-the-shoulder (OTS) dress on a couple bloggers and was just in love with it…until I put it on. I knew it was a questionable choice for me because of the elastic waist. And sure enough it was just not right and I felt very fidgetty in it, constantly fussing with the waist. The OTS part was also not cooperative and I don’t even OWN a strapless bra (oh my gosh the dog just burped in his sleep and it sounded like a child said “hi”) so what was I even thinking?? It was a size 4x. I’m still addicted to striped tops and am looking for a new favorite. This was not it. Too big in the chest and shoulders, too snug at the hips. Sigh. Story of my  life. Size 4x. And I’m looking for a couple pairs of slouchy (BUT NOT SLOPPY!!!) soft fabric, like a rayon or linen blend or tencel, ankle length pants for summer. These linen blend 4x pants were just too big. I couldn’t tie them tight enough to keep them from slipping down my hips. The last dress, the mustard yellow dress is just like the light blue Tencel “nightgown” dress I had from last year…but it’s more of a gauzey rayon and a little snugger fit. Size 4x. Pass. Everything is already on its way back to Old Navy and the search continues. I can spend the same $100 on clothes for MONTHS, buying and returning, lather, rinse, repeat.

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And last (lastly?) I paid a visit yesterday to the podiatrist, FINALLY, after suffering with heel pain for almost 8 months. I’ve done the stretching exercises. I’ve rolled my foot over the golf ball and frozen water bottle. I was “off my feet” for as much as I could probably ever be between my time in the hospital and then recovering at home after the surgery. I’ve iced it. I went to physical therapy three times for stretching, massage, laser treatments and electronic stimulation. And it’s been 8 months and the pain is bad and not getting better. He took a digital x-ray which showed a heel spur and inflammation, gave me a cortisone shot (youch) and then wrapped my foot up with this cushiony pad and said to leave it on for three days. It’s already off. Ha. It was SO tight, it was as uncomfortable as the heel pain! I’m going to say the edge is off the heel pain but it’s not entirely gone. I also haven’t walked a lot since. He said it could be 4-5 days before it takes full effect. And I go back Friday to follow-up and get another shot if needed.

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And now it’s the weekend YAY. I have errands and apartment cleaning planned for today…and something FUN planned for tomorrow. And when I say PLANNED I mean, we plan to have FUN, we haven’t actually planned yet what exactly we’re doing. So it’s still a surprise.

What do YOU have planned for the weekend? And have any of you ever had success with ANY sort of treatment for heel pain/spurs?

More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally 🙂 I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing:

You Deserve the Very Best…

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I look at these pictures taken 3 weeks ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. All I see when I look at them is TIRED. A TIRED woman. And I *was* tired. I’d been tired for some time, but always attributed it to my weight or my age or just generally being out of shape. And I pushed through…because that’s what you do. It’s what we all do. We just keep going, pushing ourselves, til we can’t go no mo.

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It was the day after this shoot that I ended up in the Emergency Room and the next day admitted to the hospital. For five days. And then another 10 days the very next week. The cancer diagnosis really surprised me. “I’m just tired.” Now I’m tired from the surgery – a hysterectomy 6 days ago. Still waiting on the pathology from the surgery but I’m counting on it being positive. In the meantime I’m recovering. I’m back at home, my daughter is here helping me. Life doesn’t feel normal again yet, but it will.

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My body doesn’t feel normal yet, either. When I look down, my stomach seems like it shifted lower. Like I used to feel pregnant w a basketball right under my boobs…and now the basketball has dropped. So the biggest part of my stomach is in a new place. And that feels weird. I didn’t expect that. I have to get used to my body again.

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I’ve started walking. BABY baby steps. 5 minutes out then five minutes back. That’s all I can do just yet. But I’ll feel stronger as I heal from the surgery and eventually I’ll be able to walk 10 minutes out and back. And maybe my body will change a little more. Because I’m tired of my body making me feel tired. This isn’t me hating on my body. This is me LOVING on me and my body and wanting both of us to FEEL BETTER. We deserve that, my body and I.

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We deserve the very best.

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What I’m Wearing:

Gwynnie Bee Try-on Haul

So…before I get into the trying on, I wanted to share with you one of my goals for the blog for 2017 – VIDEO. Not instead of the written blog, but in addition to it. I think it’s nice to feel like you’re sort of having a conversation with a person (albeit one-sided) and video can help things feel more like that. Also, it’s helpful to be able to see the movement in clothes – how does the fabric fall and drape, what happens to the dress when you move or sit…all shown better in a video than a still photograph.

My defined goal was to have a YouTube channel up and running with some decent production quality vlogs…by July. But it’s all harder than it seems (!!!) so guess who gets to be my test audience? YOU! Ha. I don’t know if I should say “You’re Welcome” or “I’m Sorry,” but I’ll be sharing short videos here as I practice this new skill. Please share any thoughts or critiques. I know in the beginning these will be pretty rough – I don’t really have proper videoing equipment or lighting or anything, I’m just using what I have for now til I see if this is something I even really like doing.

So. That brings us to today’s post. I hadn’t really meant to share anything so soon, but…I video’d two Gwynnie Bee items that arrived this week for a Gwynnie Bee Facebook group I’m in (we like to share our “try-on’s” with one another so other people can tell if the item is something they’d like to put in their online closet), so I wasn’t thinking of things like, oh, sweeping up the dog hair off the floor, or maybe brushing my hair or putting away all the mess in the line of the camera. But I just had a little fun with it and then thought, you know what? I could use this on the blog with the caveat LOW EXPECTATIONS = SMALL DISAPPOINTMENTS, ha. It’s really a mess. But that’s why this blog is called Fashion SCHLUB and NOT I’m A Pretty Pretty Princess.

So here you go. Note: I don’t always hate *everything,* ha. And pardon my voice, I’ve been on and off sick since Thanksgiving.

SCARY.